Captain Francis John Hannam
Hannam was born in the Summer of 1880 in
and grew up in Westbury-on-Trym. He was the only son of Samuel J. Hannam, a
timber merchant, and Laura, who also produced two daughters, Maude and Mabel.
Francis was educated at
joined Clifton Rugby Club in 1898-99 and was captain from 1901 to 1903. His
rugby career was ended by a serious injury sustained playing for
Above Clifton XV of 1901-02 Back
Row (L-R): Leonard W. Baker, W.W. Vaughan, H.W. Millard, G.W. Templar, H.B.F.
Bingham, J.H. Inskip, A.S. Mills, H. Clissold, E.L. Marriott, C.W.W. James, S.B. Smith. Middle
Row: G.H. Beloe, E.S.B. Smith, F.J. Hannam, Mr H.W. Beloe, H. Mills, E.F. Eberle. Front Row: H.W. Mearns, A.H.C.
Fargus, D.A. Clark, F.O. Wills.
married Edith Margaret Boucher, a tennis player who won gold medals in the
Ladies Singles and Mixed Doubles competitions at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics,
and was twice a finalist at
. Three of her brothers played for Clifton RFC.
Edith Hannam in 1912.
served with C Company, 2nd/4th Battalion of the
Gloucestershire Regiment. He was killed carrying out a night time raid on German
trenches at Aubers on 5th July 1916.
H Yarrow - writing to his wife in
here I am at last safe and well, but with a bullet wound in the right wrist. My
hand is a bit easier, though now too stiff to write the field card while in
. The bullet went through and it happened on Wednesday morning 1.30 a.m. We were
attacking the German troops, it was a bombing raid. A grenade dropped by my
side. I was on hands and knees. I rolled quickly away. It exploded but I was not
was a game getting into barbed wire, ditches etc. A German machine gun played
havoc with us. I was soaked with mud and water. I ditched the gong, but I have a
nice souvenir, a water bottle (copper).
were shelled heavily before and after we attacked. Another chap in my company is
in the next bed.
were in their trenches 1½ hours after we attacked as it was too risky to get
honestly looked forward to it all, with no fear whatsoever.
Hannam was killed in this raid. I never saw any more of him. C B shall be here
about 21 days.
Hannam was buried at
, La Gorgue.
memorial service was held for him on 23rd July 1916 at St Mary's,
. As well as his family, rugby players and officials from all over
attended. At the service the Reverend F. Norton, in his impressive address,
just as the battle of
Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton, it is true, in a measure, that
Frank Hannam's energy, courage and coolness, daring and self sacrifice was
learned in no small degree upon the playing fields of Bristol.
They had assembled that
afternoon” he said “to take off their hats - if I might use the term - to a
brave man and a gentleman. Known throughout
as Frank Hannam, his death has caused a tremendous loss in their lives. Few
sacrifices in this war could have been greater than his, for he was in the prime
of his life, mentally, physically and - let us not forget it - spiritually. Ever
since he went into the trenches he never forgot to go to God's altar for
strength and help.
Hannam is included in the World War 1 Memorial chapter of For College, Club
& Country – A History of Clifton Rugby Football Club, printed by MX
Publishing in 2009. ISBN